WARNING: SOME IMAGES CONTAIN NUDITY
San Francisco, California
By Beck Diefenbach
Photographing the nude body in America presents many challenges. So when Reuters editor Mike Fiala asked me to shoot the latest chapter in the public nudity ban in San Francisco, I knew I would have a lot of factors to consider.
Different parts of the world react differently to nudity in the news. In America, it is often considered taboo to print a photo of frontal nudity even if it is considered newsworthy.
If you are unaware, San Francisco does not have a city ordinance banning nudity in public. It is just one of those San Francisco-ism everyone else in the country likes to joke about. Until the last year or two, this clothing optional lifestyle never really caused much of a kerfuffle. But recently, store merchants in the city’s Castro district have requested that the city put a stop to bare skin.
Castro District Supervisor Scott Wiener has been trying to change the city code to eliminate the daily nudist activity. He proposed a ban that would prohibit nudity in most public places, but would still allow it in particular parades and street festivals (we are in San Francisco after all). The final vote by the 11 city supervisors was set for Tuesday and I was assigned to photograph it for Reuters.
In previous city legislative sessions, nudist have disrobed in City Hall’s legislative chambers in protest of the proposed ban. I was pretty much certain this would happen again. Before the vote, I had two things in mind: 1) stay away from full frontal nudity, 2) the setting of City Hall’s legislative chambers was crucial to the picture.